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Mature Mulberry

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Hi folks, I do a lot of work on a large country estate and amongst the specimen trees are 2 mature, approx 50yrs, Mulberry trees.

Unfortunately due to the weight of fruit on them and some recent storms one of them has suffered a large break with many of the other limbs deformed and bent over. Limbs that should be 15-20 ft in the air vent over touching the ground.

The owners have asked me to pollard back which I think is the right thing to do to save further damage and protect the tree.

However never having dealt with Mulberry before thought I might just ask for some opinions.

My initial thought is not to go to hard and leave the basic structure as it is.

Over to you guys.

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Not common round here, the one mulberry I've come across in the last 3 years had a huge crack. It looked like it had been cut back before and then sprouted hard, just put too much weight on that side above the decay pocket.

I guess if you pollard then you will need to manage the regrowth in a few years or it will be worse than it is now. The tree I saw had rot pockets all over from previous cuts.

I don't know how old mulberries get - is it going to live long or are you just keeping it going for a bit longer? Can you use reduction cuts to reduce the weight on the limbs rather than pollard?

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No don't know how long they live but yes that's pretty much what I'm thinking, reduction rather than pollard.
At least we get a chance with it then and if it doesn't work out it can come down in a couple of years?

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Pollarding will generate many new shoots that will need managing into the future.  Another option would be to prop the drooping branches.  There's an old tree at Leeds Castle that's had that treatment and it's far from alone; Google Images 'propped mulberry tree'.

Mulberries live centuries by the way.

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47 minutes ago, nepia said:

Pollarding will generate many new shoots that will need managing into the future.  Another option would be to prop the drooping branches.  There's an old tree at Leeds Castle that's had that treatment and it's far from alone; Google Images 'propped mulberry tree'.

Mulberries live centuries by the way.

I had to prop a pear of my Grandads that was like that . It made so much fruit it would break its self else .

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That thread's so ancient it's not even in my memory banks.  But Tony Croft came up with the goods as always.  Keep_flying; Tony (Hamadryad) is an incredibly knowledgeable guy; you can attach great weight to his advice.

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Thank you all for your input.
I did consider propping but unfortunately there is only 2 limbs low enough and 1 of those is in quite a bad way, with a rotted stub from a previously removed branch that has rotted back into the limb itself.
The worst shaped limbs are all right in the crown and are so bent to be virtually touching the floor.
I'll have another look at it and see where we end up.
Many thanks.

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Rotted out pockets in Mulberry are par for the course.  If you're worried about water filling one bear in mind that little decay happens under water due to the low oxygen level.  Or drill a hole through the bottom to drain it; I did that some years ago with my now destroyed Tulip and it worked well.

 

A matter of personal taste I know but pollarding a mulberry just doesn't sound right; they're specimen trees that in my view warrant considerable effort being put into their welfare.

 

See if you can find an arboricultural consultant near you to do a site visit and advise:  there's bound to be one on here if you tell us where you are.

Edited by nepia

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